Which gave a more accurate prediction of who will win the Philippine presidency, homegrown Pulse Asia or global company Google Trends?
The results should be known this week after the Filipino electorate casts their vote for either Leni Robredo or Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
Pulse Asia has predicted a strong win by Marcos Jr but Google Trends said Robredo would emerge victorious by a mile.
The two contrasting predictions gave nearly similar figures, with Pulse Asia concluding that Marcos Jr. would win with 56 percent of the vote and Robredo receiving 23 percent.
Google Trends, however, had Robredo winning with 55 percent of the vote, and Marcos Jr. getting 24 percent.
Meanwhile, a survey conducted nationwide by an independent team of researchers, scientists, and scholars had Robredo winning with 57.39 percent as against Marcos Jr. with 38.27 percent.
The results of the survey, conducted between April 18 to 22 had 4,800 sample respondents, and was released by the Senate of the Philippines, where three senators are running either for president or vice-president.
By comparison, Pulse Asia usually has 2,400 respondents per survey.
The independent survey had a statistical tie in the vice-presidential race between Francisco Pangilinan and Sara Duterte, with 48.34 and 47.32, respectively.
The margin of error was pegged at +/-2 percent, with a 95 percent confidence level.
Economist Andrew Masigan said he expected Robredo to win as her aggregate score of 107 from Google Trends is way ahead of Marcos Jr., who had a score of 79.
He said the score bodes well for Robredo as Google Trends “has been successful in predicting election outcomes in the US but (also) in other parts of the world such as Greece, Spain, Germany and Brazil.”
Masigan added that Google Trends correctly predicted the victory of Rodrigo Duterte in 2016, even as the likes of Mar Roxas and Grace Poe were shown to be ahead of the Davao City mayor in other surveys.
A pair of data scientists, Wilson Chua and Roger Do, earlier stated that Robredo surpassed Marcos Jr. in their Facebook engagement score, which helps measure the potential for people becoming voters of a certain candidate.
Beginning with a five-point deficit in February, Robredo took a five-point lead in March with eight million engagements as against Marcos Jr’s 7.5 million, said Chua and Do.
Pulse Asia’s results had come under question recently after the company’s president admitted that they had not included the A and B socio-economic markets in their recent surveys.
Pulse Asia president Ronald Holmes said the two segments “were hard to reach” but they could be excluded because they represented little more than two percent of the voting population.
It was also learned that Pulse Asia had interviewed more respondents from the C segment than their actual percentage vis-à-vis the population.
But Holmes insisted that their survey results were an accurate representation of the Philippine electorate. He said he stood by their results.
Based on the latest Google Trend report, Robredo led Marcos Jr. in all regions except one – the Ilocos Region which is the Marcos family’s bailiwick.
Robredo even led Marcos Jr. in the upper Luzon area known as the Solid North, to the tune of 60-40 in the Cordillera Autonomous Region and 54-46 in Cagayan Valley.
In Metro Manila, which has the largest number of voters, Robredo led Marcos Jr. 59-41, while in the vote-rich CALABARZON region, she was up 57-43.
“Taking the last five weeks into consideration,” said Masigan, “Google Trends predicts a Robredo victory.”
It should be noted that crowds attending Robredo’s rallies have been much larger than those of Marcos Jr.
During the last day of campaigning on May 7, the Robredo “miting de avance” in the business district of Makati City drew a crowd estimated at one million.
This was based on estimates of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the organizers.
The PNP’s estimate for the Marcos Jr. rally in the reclamation area in Pasay City was 50,000. The media bureau of Marcos Jr., however, insisted that they, too, drew a crowd of one million.